YouTube star showcases the problems of online stardom

Caroline Lozano/ Assistant Opinion Director

Recently, Logan Paul, a popular YouTube star, has been the target of media backlash and negative publicity after he posted a controversial video of his visit to the Aokigahara forest, infamously known as the “suicide forest” in Japan.

Since the 1950s, the Aokigahara forest has been a well-known site to commit suicide in Japan, with the number of bodies found increasing each year, according to Atlas Obscura.

The forest has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years one that Paul obviously felt the need to exploit in order to have content for his next vlog.

In the video, Paul is shown wandering around the forest with his friends and eventually encountering the dead body of a suicide victim, not even hesitating to zoom in on various parts of the body and making jokes.

The 22-year-old attempted to comment on the seriousness of suicide, but whatever message he was trying to get across became lost amid the graphic content and the lack of respect from the ones in front of the camera, including Paul himself.

The video garnered six million views before Paul chose to take it down after receiving well-deserved backlash for its content, particularly from high-profile celebrities such as actress Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones” and actor Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad.”

Although Paul has apologized twice, more footage of his trip to Japan has surfaced, where he partakes in inappropriate behavior, such as throwing pokeballs at random citizens, and wearing racially insensitive clothing, like a kimono and rice farmer’s hat.

The immaturity of Paul and his friend’s actions as depicted in these videos are embarrassing and reflects poorly on our own country.

As someone who spends a considerable amount of time on Youtube, I’ve never been a fan of Logan Paul or any of the videos on his channel and the ones in the now-defunct Vine (or his brother’s for that matter). His content lacks appeal and has never appeared to be anything more than “comedic” nonsense. For me, Paul has always come across as undeserving of his fame.

The controversy does much to highlight the problematic aspects that comes with online stardom, especially the idea that one must do all they can to increase their view counts, regardless of who or what is being disrespected.

In this case, Paul used the body of a suicide victim as well as the culture and citizens of Japan to achieve this selfish goal. And unfortunately for him, it has not resulted well. Negative backlash can only take you so far.

It would’ve been a different story altogether if Paul, who is less controversial than his brother Jake Paul, had created a regular vlog on his trip to Japan actually respecting the culture, its language and its people.

And if he wanted to discuss and raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention, which he claims was the reason for his Aokigahara forest video, a regular video discussion would’ve been much more appropriate, considering the seriousness of the topic.

But neither of these videos depicted any of the aforementioned and that is all the more reason to be angry.

While I don’t think that he will be going anywhere anytime soon, Logan Paul has much to apologize for and reflect upon.

I can understand that online stardom is a much different beast to tackle in comparison to movie and television stardom, especially since online celebrities are “allowed” to be spontaneous and off-the-cuff with their actions.

But with 15 million subscribers on his YouTube channel and a high social media presence, Paul — as well as other online celebrities — should become more conscious on how their content can affect people in real life and not just create videos for the views.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo taken from Flickr.

About the Author

Caroline Lozano
Caroline Lozano is a senior pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, listening to music (especially The Beatles), attending cons, and watching movies/shows on Netflix. One of her goals is to become an accomplished writer of novels and short stories. Caroline is also fluent in Spanish.

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